UCA suspends classes UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

UCA suspends classes UPDATE



There'll be no classes at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway today as the campus copes with a Sunday night shooting outside a dormitory that left two students dead. A non-student suffered a minor wound.

The university's initial release is on the jump. Coverage in the Log Cabin Democrat mentions that new campus surveillance cameras might have captured the shootings.

Officials discussed the shooting at a news conference this morning. Idenitities provided at the news conference were the same as those contributed by readers last night on our late-night thread on the shooting.


NEWS CONFERENCE UPDATE: The dead students were identified this morning as Chavares Block, 19, a sophomore pre-engingeering major from Dermott. (above) and Ryan Henderson, 18, a Little Rock freshman (below) Martrevis Norman of Blytheville suffered a leg wound that did not require hospitalization.


Two male suspects are in custody. The first was taken into custody off-campus in a traffic stop. The second turned himself in. Police are searchng for two more male suspects and believe they know where they can be found. None is a UCA student, but all were said to be in the same age range as the victims. UPDATE: A third suspect was reported in custody by mid-afternoon. But, by 5 p.m., no names or charges had been announced.

No insight as to motive was offered.

Police aren't ready to say who fired the fatal shots or how many. The four were in a car that drove onto campus and then left after the shooting. It was uncertain if shots were fired from the car or after a shooter or shooters got out of the car.

Acting UCA President Tom Courtway called the event a "senseless" act and assured parents, staff and students that the campus was safe. Conway police and State Police are assisting UCA police in the investigation.

Preston Grumbles, a UCA investigator, predicted an update later this morning. He said the shooting did not appear to be a random act. He said there was no indication of gang activity. Campus rumor mill suggests that the shooting grew out of a confrontation earlier in the weekend, but it's unclear if either or both of the victims were targeted or were bystanders. Internet searches for the two victims turn up little, except a listing of Henderson among those achieving top grades during the spring semester.

Officials praised students for staying calm, providing first aid to those shot and assisting with crowd control.

-- Report from Gerard Matthews


UCA announced that it is providing counseling on campus for students, faculty and staff. Also, a candlelight memorial will be held at 5 p.m. today at the UCA fountain by the Student Government Association. A prayer vigil will take place at 1:40 p.m. Tuesday at Ida Waldran Auditorium on behalf of all religious organizations on campus.


CONWAY, ARK. -- In an effort to provide the most comprehensive, reliable and up-to-date information about the shooting incident that occurred during the evening of Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008, on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas, UCA will release as much information as possible on its homepage at www.uca.edu.

The UCA Police Department received a call at 9:19 p.m. reporting shots fired.  At the same time, a UCA police officer heard the shots and responded immediately.

The first two UCAPD officers were on the scene of the shooting at 9:19 p.m.  The incident occurred outdoors between Arkansas Hall and the Snow Fine Arts Center.

The first MEMS ambulance arrived on scene at 9:28 p.m., and the first Conway Fire Department vehicle was on scene at 9:30 p.m.

One victim, a UCA student, was pronounced dead at the scene.  Two other injured victims were transported to Conway Regional Medical Center.  One of those victims, also a UCA student, died at the hospital.  The other victim, who was not a UCA student, was treated and eventually released from the hospital.

The names of the victims will not be released until their relatives are notified.

UCA residence halls and the UCA Student Center were immediately locked down after the incident was reported.  However, the UCA campus itself is not locked down, although officers are posted at every campus entrance, and access to campus is limited to residents and authorized personnel.

All 25 UCAPD officers were immediately dispatched.  The UCAPD's automated alert system was initiated, and every residence hall was contacted by telephone to instruct officials to secure the facilities and restrict access to the buildings.  E-mails were sent to UCA student, faculty and staff e-mail systems, as well as the Safe@UCA e-mail
listserv.  A notification also was posted on the UCA homepage at www.uca.edu, as well as the UCAPD website at www.ucapd.com.

The UCAPD is conducting a joint investigation with the Conway Police Department and the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office. A person of interest has been detained, although that person is not under arrest at this time.

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